November 13, 2020


Peaks of Otter 10/29/2019 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virgina
Each of us has a destiny to fulfill,
a life to live,
a work to perform,
a calling to serve,
a self to express, exhibit, incarnate,
a divine spark to nourish
into a flame of glory and wonder
so that no one can tell where we stop
and God starts.

Sounds a bit much, I know.
But, there is Jesus saying, 
"Come, follow me."
And, "Greater things than I have done,
you will do."

He's saying, "Get out of your own way
and be who you are!
And allow the Mystery of Being
to come to life in you
in ways that are uniquely yours
to bring forth!"

Carl Jung said,
“In the final analysis, 
we count for something 
only because of the essential 
that we embody. 
If we do not serve that, 
life is wasted.” 

Our destiny is to be who we are
at the core of ourselves,
who we are capable of being,
who we are here to be,
to become.

Jung also said,
"There is in each of us
another, whom we do not know."
This Other is "the essential
that we embody."
Whom we live to know
and to serve with our life.

We do that consciously
by paying attention to 
the unconscious clues
that are always winking at us,
trying to catch our eye.

Our life is like that of a fairy tale,
or of Luke Skywalker,
and the clues are lying all about us.
Help is on every side,
and the audience is groaning
because we won't see what is right there.

So, we have to learn to stop, look and listen.
What are we missing?
What did we dream last night?
What makes our little heart sing?
What brings us to life in a way
that makes us forget what day it is,
and not know how long we have been doing
the thing we love to do?

What keeps coming back around?
What won't go away?
What do we keep pushing aside,
only to have it pop up again in a month
or a year?
What do we find ourselves thinking about?
What do we wish we could do?
What do we keep finding excuses
for not doing?

There is a secret cause dying for us 
to find it,
claim it,
live it as our own dream
dreaming we would adopt it
as our own life.

It is our destiny.
We have to work it into our life!
We have to find ways of being who we are!
We have to honor the dream that dreams of us!

We would be most remiss if we did not.



Carolina Thread Trail 04 11/09/2020 — 12-mile Creek Bridge, Lancaster County, SC/Union County, NC,
We can make anything better or worse
by the way we respond to it.

That being the case,
you would think we would study up on our
response ability and how to perfect it,
becoming experts in responding appropriately
to every occasion.

You couldn't be more wrong.
Why is that?
Why don't we make a concerted effort
to live the best possible life
under the circumstances?

Why don't we all swear to the One Who Knows
within each of us,
an oath of fealty, loyalty,
allegiance and devotion,
that we will, with their help,
make our best effort
to respond to the events of our life
in ways that have the best chance
of turning things to the good
of ourselves,
our circumstances,
and all those concerned,
by simply doing what is called for
all our life long?

Why don't we do that?
I'm serious.
Why don't we? 



Black Australian Swans 04 10/25/2019 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
The single thing that will make
the most difference for the good
in our life 
is growing up.

The single thing that makes 
growing up impossible
is our infantile desire to have our way.

Get our way out of the way
and everything falls into place
exactly as it needs to
for our life to be exactly 
what it needs to be.

This is the truth at the heart
of all good religion.

What did native Americans
mean when they said
"It's a good day to die"?
Good for whom?
Good for what?
Good in terms of what?
Certainly not in terms
of having their way!
But what else is there?
How good can not having our way be?

You see how far from good religion
we are.

Religion for us is nothing but a ploy
to get our way
(That would be heaven when we die).
We give to get in our religion.
Which isn't giving at all,
but dealing,
Whatever we do in our religion,
whatever we give,
isn't a gift,
it is an investment,
that we expect to pay off handsomely
in the world to come.

Having our way is the only way
in our world.
Growing up will have to wait.




Walnut Creek Trail 08 11/09/2020 — Walnut Creek, Union County, North Carolina
There is within each of us
a self who knows
and a self who thinks it knows.
And it is our place to know
which is which,
and throw in with the self who knows.

This is a problem
because the self who thinks it knows,
is sure it knows.
Is convinced it knows.
Knows it knows.
It does not know.
And does not know that it does not know.

It is our place to know
that one self does not know
as much as it thinks it knows.
And to make inquiries.

We are to ask the questions
that beg to be asked,
and say the things
that cry out to be said
to both selves,
and see which self
does the best job
answering and retorting.

Put the selves to the test!
"What makes you think
that what you think is so
is so?"
"What do you base your beliefs on?"
"By what authority do you say
what you just said?"
"How does what you just said
jive with what you said five minutes ago?"
With what you said yesterday?"
"What do you have at stake--
what do you have to gain or lose--
in things being the way you say they are?"
"Who would be most proud of you--
the most happy with you--
for saying what you just said?
For thinking what you think is so?"
"Who are you trying to please?"
... And on like that,
getting to what is behind
what each self "knows,"
or knows, is so.

Do not take what either self says
as truth
without exploring it exhaustively 
for its validity.
Make them say what is so 
about what they think is so.

Talk it out.
Make them come clean.
The truth will shine through
if you take the time 
to clear the window of perception
by getting to the source
of the perspective.

Your place is to investigate
what comes up from within
in knowing what each knower knows--
and does not know.
And deciding what to do about it.



Fall Leaves 03 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Fear, guilt and regret
lock us into an ever-deepening
and increasingly repetitive
cycle of fear, guilt and regret.

The more fearful, guilty and regretful
we are,
the more fearful, guilty and regretful
we will be.

It is up to us to turn the haunting Cronies
Turning to stare them into silence
and send them away,
we step toward our own center
and become the redeemer/savior
of our own future
and the life we have yet to live.

We have to claim that future
and that life,
and secure them against the encroaching
erosion of fear, guilt and regret.
Has to be repeated with force
for as long as it takes to be free,
and settled into who we are,
what we have done and failed to do,
and what may happen to take everything away.

Our work is to be
"a wheel rolling/turning 
out of its own center"
(Friedrich Nietzsche),
grounded in our original nature,
focused on seeing/doing
what is called for
in each situation as it arises
with the gifts/daemon/virtues/
that are ours to offer
throughout the time left for living.

This is the salvific orientation
that stabilizes us
and anchors us to the core
of sincerity,
balance and harmony,
and enables us to live spontaneously,
without contrivance,
in responding to the needs of the moment,

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: